United Auto Workers Hold Off on Backing Biden, for Now

The politically influential labor union, United Auto Workers, plans to withhold President Biden’s endorsement in the early stages of the 2024 race, according to an internal memo from the president to members Tuesday.

The memo, written by Detroit-based labor union president Sean Fain, said leaders of the United Auto Workers’ Union traveled to Washington last week to meet with Biden administration officials and discuss “concerns about the transition to electric vehicles.” said to have expressed pursued.

The memo suggests that some of Biden’s boldest moves to fight climate change could revitalize his liberal base while also weakening his political support in another key constituency. emphasizes that there is Although the UAW has shrunk in size in recent decades, it still has about 400,000 active members and a strong presence in Michigan, a key battleground state for the Democratic Party.

In April, the Biden administration proposed its most ambitious climate regulation yet, guaranteeing that two-thirds of new passenger cars will be fully electric by 2032. This is up from just 5.8% today. If enacted, this rule could significantly reduce global warming pollution from automobile tailpipes, the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the country. But just like building a petrol car, less than half the labor required to assemble a fully electric car comes at a cost to auto workers.

In the memo, Fain provided “points” to union members as to why unions did not immediately voice their support for Biden, saying that if companies received federal subsidies, workers would receive “the best They must be compensated with wages and benefits.”

“The transition to EVs is at serious risk of becoming a race to the bottom,” the memo reads, referring to electric vehicles. “We want the country’s leaders to support this before we make any commitments.”

Fain was elected president of the UAW this year as the rebel candidate, overthrowing incumbent Ray Curry. Fain promised a more confrontational path ahead of contract negotiations. In the memo, he noted that his 150,000 auto workers were vying for new contracts with the so-called Big 3 auto companies in his September, saying, “In that battle, our members and I stand by whoever stands with me.”

Labor support is an important part of Biden’s political solidarity and his portrayal as a middle-class fighter.

Within hours of Biden’s official entry into the 2024 election, many of the top labor unions endorsed him. Among them are the Merged Traffic Union, the International Union of Service Workers, and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.

“Several national unions immediately supported,” Fain wrote in a note. “The National Auto Workers Union has not yet expressed support.”

Biden’s campaign touted his support from other unions in news releases. It was a speech at a workers’ conference held in

“I’ve said it many times: Wall Street didn’t build America,” he told a cheering crowd last week. “The middle class built America, the unions built the middle class!”

The National Auto Workers Union, which has historically endorsed Democrats and endorsed Biden in 2020, said in a memo that it has no intention of endorsing the Republican front-runner, former President Donald J. Trump. there is Withholding formal recognition so far appears to be seeking leverage and concessions from the administration.

Fain’s memo said, “If Donald Trump were to become president again, it would be a disaster.” The Detroit News reported“But our members need to find alternatives that deliver real results. must be organized.”

Biden has sought to accelerate the transition to all-electric vehicles as a central part of his efforts to tackle climate change. His 2021 report by the International Energy Agency finds that countries must stop selling new petrol cars by 2035 to avoid the deadly effects of global warming. I was.

To reach that goal, Mr. Biden has pushed a series of policies to promote electric vehicles.

The Biden administration’s proposed climate regulations, announced in April, are designed to add legal teeth to consumer incentives, requiring automakers to build and sell more electric vehicles. Yes. However, the Environmental Protection Agency’s rules are not yet final. It is open to public comment and may be weakened or changed before it is completed next year.

As the Biden administration prepared to unveil new clean-car rules last month, officials said EPA chief Michael S. Regan announced the policy in Detroit, surrounded by all-electric American-made cars. planned to

But as auto industry executives and the National Auto Workers Union learned more about the proposed regulation, some began to feel uneasy about publicly endorsing it, according to their thinking. a person official said. Representatives from Ford, General Motors and Mercedes-Benz were in attendance, but no one was present at the unveiling, according to a spokesman for the United Auto Workers Union.

The stage then moved from Detroit to EPA headquarters in Washington.

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